HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Moka success, I believe (16 msgs / 538 lines)
1) From: Rick Copple
Hey, I've been trying different temps with the moka. A previous time, I 
got distracted so forgot to turn the heat down and it was churning away 
big time, so blew that attempt. This morning, however, I decided to try 
again and to drastically turn the temp down as the the time before I did 
this I turned it down, but not far enough I think.
I started with "7" on my electric stove dial (0 to 10 scale) to get it 
to heat up. I also decided to leave the lid open and watch for the first 
signs of coffee coming up instead of looking for the steam coming out of 
the pot. I think this allowed me to catch it coming up much earlier that 
way.
When I saw it coming up, I dialed the stove down to a "2". That seemed 
to keep the flow coming at a slow but steady pace. I left the lid open 
and sort of thought of a "tip" line. If you have to shut the lid because 
it is spewing all over the place, your heat is on too high! At "2" on 
the dial, it just dribbled out.
Now, usually when I make moka in the past, I'll drink a couple sips of 
it, and then put some hot water in it to make an "Americano" with, or as 
the local coffee shop likes to call them, "Texacanos". Usually it was 
just too bitter to drink straight. This time, however, it tasted pretty 
good and I never put hot water in it. It still had a bit of bitter tinge 
to it, but it was not that much. However, I did taste the "mango" flavor 
of the Harrar FTO at a City+. It was quite nice. Very drinkable, smooth 
and rich.
Oh, one other thing I did, I was using a "drip" grind setting on my 
Zass, one full turn from completely closed. (That is a drip setting, 
correct?) This time I did 1.25 turns from completely closed as I 
recalled reading that some had a courser grind for moka than drip. That 
also probably helped to reduce the bitterness. Should I go coarser you 
think? Maybe to a press pot grind?
I'm almost finished with this cup, I may just go make another one, but 
try the Yellow Bourbon instead, as I have a little of that roasted left.
Thanks everyone who offered the suggestions on moka last time the thread 
was up. It seemed to help.
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

2) From: Les
Rick,
Start with a 6 setting on your stove. You shouldn't have a bitter taste fro=
m 
a Moka Pot. The water may have been too hot. I use the lid up technique too=
. 
I also go a hair coarser than drip too. The Yellow Bourbon is super in the=
 
MK pot.
 Les
I had a wild buckaroo ristretto this morning. 1.75 oz Harar Horse ristretto=
 
from 21 grams of coffee in my LM triple basket. Talk about a flavor 
explosion! 90% crema after the shot, settling down to 75% coffee 25% crema=
 
about 20 seconds.
 On 9/5/05, Rick Copple  wrote: 
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3) From: Larry English
Using too much heat will not only boil the water but will rapidly heat the=
 
entire pot and therefore the brewed coffee in the top - could be where the=
 
bitter comes from. I pre-heat the water, add to pot, quickly add coffee and=
 
top, and brew on low heat, and then pour into cup as soon as it is finished=
. 
As to grind level, I use about the same grind as for paper filters, no 
finer, maybe even a bit more coarse. I use both a new 4 tasse SS Bialetti=
 
(from Tom & Maria) and (occasionally) a smaller aluminum Bialetti I've had=
 
for many years. 
Larry
On 9/5/05, Les  wrote:
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4) From: Bob Avery
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Les ... I myself ordered one of the Moka Pots after talking with you =
... and the Yellow Bourbon was exactly what I was thinking of firing it =
up with when it comes ... that agree would be a great start, Later, Bob

5) From: Les
Oh yeh the Yellow Bourbon was awesome in the Moka Pot. I have to stop 
thinking about it as I have only a pound of it left. I have never had a Mok=
a 
Pot of Horse, maybe I will brew one up for my evening cup.
 Les
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6) From: Edward Spiegel
At 2:05 PM -0700 9/5/05, Rick wrote:
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Hi Rick,
You need to turn it down well in advance of any of the coffee coming 
out the top. Once the coffee has started coming out changes on the 
burner will have minimal impact since the water may already be hotter 
than you want it.
I counsel patience. Set it at a medium heat at the highest and accept 
that it will take a few extra minutes to get a superior cup of coffee.
That's my .02 anyway,
Edward

7) From: Michael Wascher
All this talk of Mokas made me get my pot out too. I must have gotten it 
right, Jean asked for a cup and it has literally been years since she's had=
 
coffee. I heated some milk (in the microwave), added a few teaspoons of 
sugar & a few of coffee and she says it's great. It did come out pretty 
good!
On 9/5/05, Edward Spiegel  wrote:
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"Not all things that are countable, count, and not all things that count,=
 
are countable". Albert Einstein

8) From: Les
Go for a Panama!
 Les
 On 9/6/05, Rick Copple  wrote: 
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9) From: Rick Copple
Les wrote:
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Thanks Les and Ed and others for the continued suggestions.
I didn't wait to read your post before trying, however, the YB. I ran a 
"test" to see how it would work by grinding for press pot. The crazy 
thing is, it came out a lot quicker than I was expecting. I had the lid 
up, and I turned to play with my son a bit, and when I turned back it 
was just beginning to ooze out the spout. However, the stream became 
even quicker, but without all the sputtering despite the heat, just a 
real fast stream running into the pot. I had quickly turned it down to 
2, but it was too late then. The pot quickly filled and began spurting a 
bit when I reached the end of the water flow.
That's when I pulled it. I figured I had ruined it, but like any good 
coffee lover, I had to try it out anyway to see how it came out. And you 
know, it was very good. Don't know whether it was the YB, the coarser 
grind, or a combination thereof but it all seemed to taste good, and I 
drank it all as it was.
So, I think some, maybe most, of the bitterness I had experienced (which 
I just chalked up to being strong coffee) before was just having too 
fine a grind. I agree, it seems the setting just below what I usually do 
for a drip pot (1 1/8th turn from closed) seems to work best. The heat 
I'm sure didn't help!
I'll try starting with a lower temp to ramp up with, and then cut it 
down further once it starts coming out. That seemed to have worked the 
first time.
However, now I don't have any more YB roasted (but a pound left on the 
shelf waiting to be), so I'll have to chose between the Sulwanise (sp?) 
and the Panama Eleta. Choices, choices...but I think I'll go do a moka now!
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

10) From: Rick Copple
OK, I just made another cup of moka in the pot. I used the Sulwanese, 
since it is a smooth coffee. Ground it to 1.25 turns from closed in the 
Zass. I put it all together and put the stove burner on 4.5.
It took a while, but I happened to catch it starting to come up the 
spout. I quickly turned the burner down to 2. It was sort of funny, 
because I don't think you could have had a slower dribble of coffee 
coming out of that spout if you had PID'd the stove with a temp probe in 
the pot. For the longest time it just barely dribbled out the spout. 
About 3/4 full, it began to speed up a bit and as it was getting towards 
the top I cut the heat off and it fairly quickly stopped coming out.
Interesting thing, this coffee seems to have more of an edge to it than 
either the YB or the Harrar I brewed before. I'm beginning to think that 
maybe grind level actually plays the biggest factor in how much 
bitterness you get, more so than the heat level. When one pot brewed 
with a coarse grind comes whizzing out because I forgot to turn it down 
in time, and the one that barely dribbles out is more bitter than that 
one, then it must be the grind.
I think I may be setting for my usually vac pot setting next time, just 
to see. That setting for me is just 1/8th turn before press pot. If the 
same coffee is smoother I think that would cinch it.
Mind you, this has some bitterness, but it is not over bearing. I sort 
of expect coffee to have some bitters to it as that is part of what 
gives it it's flavor quality, even if many of us don't taste that. It is 
usually just a matter of the degree of bitterness. When it crosses a 
certain threshold that is when a person will say, "that was bitter". 
Everyone's bitterness meter is set to a different level. I can drink 
some coffee that I think is very smooth and not bitter at all, give it 
to my wife, and all she can taste is bitter. No mango, no blueberries, 
no banana, nuts, chocolate, etc., just bitter, bitter, bitter.
So, when I'm saying it has some bitterness to it, it doesn't mean it 
necessarily taste bad. I'm not necessarily saying it makes my face curl, 
but that the bitters of the coffee are stronger or not as strong as at 
other times. They are always there, however, or it wouldn't taste like 
coffee. That said, this is the strongest bitter taste in a Sulwanese (I 
know, I'm probably spelling this different every time)that I've ever 
tasted, and it was brewed so slow it was almost like watching paint dry.
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

11) From: Rick Copple
Les wrote:
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Maybe I should have, based on the results! :-)
It wasn't bad, but not as good as I was expecting.
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

12) From: Edward Spiegel
At 12:59 AM -0500 9/7/05, Rick Copple wrote:
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Rick,
Don't underestimate the importance of water temperature. I got the impression from an earlier post today that you might still be heating the water a bit too fast. I recommend as a test that you grind for drip (not for press pot), don't tamp, and heat the water slowly the whole time and see what you think.
I find that press pot grind is too coarse to get an optimal moka-pot brew, but with drip grind I am never disappointed -- as long as I heat the water slowly enough. I think that if you wait until the coffee starts coming out to lower the heat that it may well be too late for the optimal temp. Also, make sure not to tamp. Tamping tends to result in off flavors.
Just my .02,
Edward

13) From: Michael Wascher
FWIW My wife's Italian relatives use off the shelf Illy (in the tiniest Mok=
a 
pot I have ever seen!), which in Italy seems ground slightly coarser than=
 
what I get here in the US.
--MikeW
On 9/7/05, Edward Spiegel  wrote:
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are countable". Albert Einstein

14) From: Rick Copple
Edward Spiegel wrote:
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Well, the pot I brewed which the above comment was about was brewed at a 
very low temp, it barely dribbled out it was so gentle and low. I had 
the dial set for 4.5, just below medium heat, and when it began to come 
up dialed down to 2. It started coming out very, very, very slowly, 
first just some bubbling and a slight drool down the side of the spout. 
It was like that through most of the brew till it got to the end, I 
assume because of the pressure having less water to put up it tended to 
speed up a bit, but it never spewed out, mostly just barely dribbled 
out. So, I don't know how much lower I could have put it and still had 
it come out.
<Snip>
This very slow pot was at just a 1/8 turn beyond the drip setting I 
normally use for the drip pot (1/4 a turn past what I've heard 
recommended for drip). It was a bit on the bitter side. The smoothest 
coffee I've had was at press pot grind level despite the heat. While I'm 
not doubting the results you have obtained, so far my experiments have 
not duplicated that. Perhaps what I think is a drip grind on the Zass is 
really closer to espresso or something, I don't know. All I know is when 
I had the setting at what I would use for a press pot, it came out the 
best even though it was heated too much. Don't ask me why, I can only 
speculate.
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That is the only marker I could use, as that is the first indication 
that it is coming. What do you use? When do you turn it down? On this 
pot, however, I saw it beginning to peek its head inside the spout and 
turned it down then and it was very slow. From how fast it came out, it 
sure didn't seem to be too hot. I was afraid it would stop coming out.
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I've never tamped a thing in my life. Well, I take that back. I did make 
use of a client's espresso machine (a Krumps) one time to make some 
espresso. It actually came out decent, at least one shot I made. The 
second one shot water out the portafilter and I had a big mess to clean 
up. However, I had no idea what I was doing at the time and had no 
tamper, yet I used my fingers to press it down as evenly as I could. In 
retrospect, I think the grind was too fine and the portafilter too full 
and that is why it shot out the portafilter (I was afraid maybe I had 
broke it!). Other than that, I've never tamped a thing.
I did read somewhere, perhaps on Tom's site, that with Moka pots you 
didn't need to tamp because the water expanding the grounds in the 
basket create a natural tamp which is more than enough.
I'll keep experimenting and try different things till I find what makes 
the best moka. I guess that is part of the fun in this. Thanks for your 
suggestions, however, and I hope I can make use of some of them.
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

15) From: Edward Spiegel
At 9:32 PM -0500 9/7/05, Rick Copple wrote:
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Hi Rick,
I guess I mis-read your post. If at 4.5 it just barely dribbles out maybe you should leave it on that. When things are set up right it shouldn't take any more than a minute for a two cup (i guess those are demitasse cups) brew to finish once it first starts coming up. I guess if the brew takes too long that might be just as bad as too fast.
How long did the very slow pot take? If it took more than a minute or two that would explain why a drip grind would taste bitter. When things move at a more optimal pace (not too fast and not too slow) a drip grind should work great. I believe that is what most folks on the list that like moka pots use (but do correct me someone if you regularly use a coarser grind).
Anyway, that's my taste,
E

16) From: Rick Copple
Edward Spiegel wrote:
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That could be, but I've put a couple more "test" under the belt, so I'll 
expand a bit.
First, on what you said above, yes I do think it took longer than a 
minute. Of course, I have a 4 cup pot, so I guess I could reasonably 
expect closer to 2 minutes. I might be close to that, I didn't time it, 
but it does take a while for it to come out. Maybe I'll time it next time.
However, I took the Sulwanise to a coarser grind to see how much 
difference that made. I think it softened it up a bit, but it still had 
that edge on it. Drinking that last cup, I think what it tasted like was 
concentrated butter, and that was the "edge" I was tasting. I think it 
was the coffee rather than anything else.
So tonight I tried some of the Panama Eleta, and it came out real 
smooth. That was with the same 4.5, then when it shows its head in the 
spout turn it down to 2. It dribbled out like before and took a while to 
finish coming out. I used my vac grind which is 1 3/8 turn on the Zass 
from full closed. It was really smooth, not bitter at all (Les was right 
to pick that one!) So I think it was basically the coffee. I may try 
another one with this one with a finer grind, maybe just leave it on 4.5 
to see what the difference might be.
Ain't this fun! :-)
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX


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